Just this past week, we celebrated the memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In honor of the wonderful Carmelite Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania, I am re-printing my article from March 14, 2011 entitled, “Carmel: the Heart of the Body of Christ.” May it move you to pray for and with our Carmelites in Erie. Pray for an increase in vocations to Carmel!
From 1920 until 1966, the Diocese of Erie was under the care and leadership of one man, Archbishop John Mark Gannon. (You can see the Archbishop in the slide show of the dedication of St. Mark Seminary on our vocations website). The Archbishop built a lot of religious foundations in the Diocese. If you attend Gannon University, St. Mark Seminary, or any Diocesan High School (with the exception of Villa Maria and the new DuBois Central Catholic), your school was built by the Archbishop. He was an amazing builder. I am convinced that, if the Archbishop lived another 30 years, he would have built Tinseltown, Grove City Outlet, and every Chuck E’ Cheese within Diocesean boundaries.
One of the greatest foundations started by the Archbishop was the Holy Family Carmelite Monastery. It is in Erie, on East Gore Road, right behind St. Mark Catholic Center. The Carmelites are a monastic, contemplative order of nuns. Rich Papalia (a.k.a. the Mastermind), from the graphics and communication department of the Diocese, has developed a website for Carmel. Please take some time today to visit http://www.eriercd.org/carmelites4.asp. Carmel is the contemplative religious order of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower), and St. John of the Cross. The Carmelites came to Erie in 1957. Their apostolate is prayer, especially for the priests, religious, and seminarians of our Diocese. If you are discerning a call to the seminary, they are praying for you right now!
Are you sweating it out right now, just dying for a Butterfinger, after 6 days of Lent? Take a read from the Carmelites’ description of their daily life on their website:
We have our main meal at midday and we ordinarily eat in silence while listening to readings or tapes of spiritual books or conferences. According to our rule, we observe the traditional monastic fast from Sept. 14 until Easter, and we perpetually abstain from meat. Our meals are simple, but well-prepared and nourishing.
The witness of Carmel strengthens those of us who are in the day to day world. You see, the Carmelites seldom leave their house. They stay there, in cloister, and devote themselves to prayer. These inspiring women are the heart of the Church. They are constantly at prayer, having offered their entire lives for prayer. They dedicate their lives to contemplating the Heart of Jesus and drawing others closer to His Heart. They are an inestimable treasure to our Diocese. They are praying for an increase in vocations to our Diocese, and to their order. Please join them in prayer, and check out their new website.
“After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses and I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth.” – St. Therese of Lisieux